From the time we are born, we are immersed into the competition to fit into society. It is only human to struggle to fit in; whether it be struggling to fit in at school, in a workplace or in a social group.
Going to a small primary school in a country town and being the only student that used a wheelchair I could never completely fit it. It really bothered me in primary school. The amount of times I watched while my friends played on the playground. The amount of times I floated between the friends who wanted to play on the playground as I watched and the friends who would gossip on the athletics track.
When trying to fit in with a social group everybody changes their behaviour, subconsciously or not. I can count so many different phases I went through as I would make new friendship groups and meet new people throughout my time at school. The One Direction stage, the side fringe stage, the barbie stage, the skinny jean stage and even at one point I tried to change my voice (it lasted 30 minutes, I cringe just thinking about it).
Forming friendships, struggling with friendship and change is what growing up is all about, but for me I hate change and these days trying to fit in and make/keep friendships causes me great anxiety. In primary school and high school I despised going on excursions and taking a bus on school trips. I always would worry about my friendships and as I'm in University, I still worry about fitting in with other people and making friends. I feel my mind and heart start to race when a lecture finishes and I have to go to the next one. I worry about the friend I have just made or have established.
Will that friend come with me?
Am I too slow?
Ooh no, I need to take a certain lift, they can easily take the stairs? Will they leave?
50% of the time my anxious thoughts are false and I'm grateful for that person who waited patiently with me. I never hid my disability from my relationships with others and I say that it doesn't define my interaction with others. However, I can't ignore the practical things that can impact my ability to fit in with others. As I'm starting University I'm happy that it isn't as much as a difference as in the past.
Slowly I'm getting there. I'm branching out, I'm feeling confident and it is honestly exciting.